Author Topic: picking a soldering station  (Read 28725 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online KL27x

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3626
  • Country: us
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2016, 11:14:52 pm »
Quote
What about the cord? Is it burn-proof? I mean, if the tip touches it will it melt? Hope not.
I have broken and/or burned out two clone/generic wands over the years. I have never melted a cord on any of my soldering irons, so I don't know. :)
Quote
However, that hakko has a weird shape and not stackable (i.e., it's hard to put another piece of equipment on top of it, a big concern for me because of limited table space). It is also unclear which one solders better, I didn't find many benchmarks for soldering stations.
BTW, if bench space is a concern, as it is for pretty much everyone, you might find a good place to put your iron under the bench. I have a little space under my bench for my Hakko station and the iron holder. The station stays where it is, and the iron holder comes up when I need to solder. When I am not soldering, there is no iron/cord on my bench top, at all.

I can't stand cords laying on my bench surface. So I wouldn't put a station at the back of my bench, anyway. And I probably wouldn't want to stack stuff on top of a little station at the front right of my bench.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 11:24:20 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline Deus

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 25
  • Country: be
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2016, 11:37:38 pm »
@rounsmith
Never used Oki myself, but seen some demos on professional electronics fairs.
Not sure which models where demonstrated, but they performed pretty well.
If it has the tips you need for it think a good choice too.

If you want a wide choice of tips, JBC has a lots of different types.
More expensive but they last forever (if you don't drop them ;-) ).
They have a Greek distributor too.
http://www.jbctools.com/distributors-europe-greece.html
Maybe ask for a demo?
Take a look at their cartridge collection.
 

Online GreyWoolfe

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3276
  • Country: us
  • NW0LF
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2016, 02:19:16 am »
The cord on the Hakko is silicone coated not plastic and is heat resistant.  If you accidentally touch the tip to it, you will be fine, just don't hold it there. 

Hello to all,
I would like to go for an oki/metcal one since i have heard so good things.

One choice is Oki PS-900 and go alone with some fine tips (station will go for around 200 euros and tips around 12 euros each).

It;s either that or some ersa i con nano.

What would you recommend?

I want a solid soldering station that will last for years.

Now i have some crappy 20 dollar one that i have to crank up to maximum if i want so solder anything. And i don;t have right tips for doing fine work like smd rework etc :(


Mind you i am from Greece and have limited options to hakko or so. I would like to go to microsoldering(fixing boards from phones etc) so i might need some fine tips.

After this is microscope time !


If you can get the Oki Metcal, go for it.  I have a Metcal MX500P II and I love it.  I also have a Hakko FX-951 and love it.  You can get fine tips with either, your magnification will make all the difference.
I am of the age that my brain no longer says "maybe I shouldn't say that" but "what the heck, let's see what happens"
 

Offline rounsmith

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 21
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2016, 07:48:56 am »
@rounsmith
Never used Oki myself, but seen some demos on professional electronics fairs.
Not sure which models where demonstrated, but they performed pretty well.
If it has the tips you need for it think a good choice too.

If you want a wide choice of tips, JBC has a lots of different types.
More expensive but they last forever (if you don't drop them ;-) ).
They have a Greek distributor too.
http://www.jbctools.com/distributors-europe-greece.html
Maybe ask for a demo?
Take a look at their cartridge collection.

JBC is too expensive in greece. It's like the base station around 800 euros from greek distributor. The OKi one is their entry level soldering station and has like 3 tips under 0.5mm for fine smd soldering work.(i can get it from Farnell Europe for around 260 with 4 tips included).

It seems a good choise. I would go for fx 951 with fm 2032 pen style iron but that will go for like 360 for greece with shipping.

Btw, what's your opinion on http://www.tme.eu/en/details/tmt-2000s-sm/soldering-stations/thermaltronics/ ?

Seems very good have read good reviews on it and it seems its like metcal mx 500 series


P.S. Can;t get demo soldering stations in Greece... because we are in Greece nothing goes for free around here :P
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 09:44:14 am by rounsmith »
 

Offline nanofrog

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5448
  • Country: us
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2016, 10:21:39 am »
One choice is Oki PS-900 and go alone with some fine tips (station will go for around 200 euros and tips around 12 euros each).

It;s either that or some ersa i con nano.

What would you recommend?
Either would be a solid choice, but I'd recommend the Ersa  over the OKi/Metcal, as it's a temperature adjustable station rather than Curie Point based (you can turn it should the need arise vs. having to install a higher rated tip to adjust temperature), and above all, the tips should be less expensive (they're typically ~6EUR each for common shapes). Should add up to a lower total cost of ownership without sacrificing performance (or features).  :-+

FWIW, the Ersa sells for 177EUR (here), and the 102 series tips used are very well made (will last a long time), and the selection is just amazing (# of different shapes & sizes).

If you'd rather have the OKi/Metcal or Thermaltronics however, they're both excellent performers as well. Just keep in mind tips are usually more expensive than the Ersa 102 series (i.e. ~20USD vs. 6USD).
 

Offline tooki

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4235
  • Country: ch
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2016, 10:30:03 am »
Just another vote for the Ersa! I have the Nano. You might also consider a used unit of one of the "big" i-Con models.
 

Offline bxh

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 32
  • Country: gb
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2016, 10:34:49 am »
my problem with my cheapo knob iron is that it doesn't heat properly, sometimes melts fine sometimes have to hold it on the joint for half an hour... its inconsistent as hell. if chinese stations don't do that it's a big part of what i want.

The cheap station cost about 70GBP (has hot air rework too), has decent temperature control so I never had any issues with consistency, could do tiny to large connections as I expect. Performance is definitely comparable to the the Weller and Hakko stations I've tried.
 

Offline 3141592

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 49
  • Country: 00
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2016, 10:49:11 am »
A Fahrenheit 28003 can be a decent mediocre choice, depending on where you are.
 

Offline nanofrog

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5448
  • Country: us
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2016, 01:28:52 pm »
my problem with my cheapo knob iron is that it doesn't heat properly, sometimes melts fine sometimes have to hold it on the joint for half an hour... its inconsistent as hell. if Chinese stations don't do that it's a big part of what i want.

The cheap station cost about 70GBP (has hot air rework too), has decent temperature control so I never had any issues with consistency, could do tiny to large connections as I expect. Performance is definitely comparable to the Weller and Hakko stations I've tried.
A few questions...
1. What Weller and Hakko stations/irons did you try (specific model numbers if possible*)?
2. How challenging of a joint were they (i.e. 1/2/4/6/8 layer boards, on a ground plane or not, ...).?
3. What brand and model of Chinese branded rework station + iron are you using?

 :-//

I ask, as if they were truly equivalent, that's rare for a Chinese brand of station, save perhaps a Quick branded one IME. FWIW, I've heard really good things about their irons, and am familiar with their hot air rework stations (my hot air rework station = Quick 861DW; just hot air, not a multi-tool).

I also prefer separate tools so if one breaks, the other can be used to fix the broken one (not advisable with an all-in-one, as it's not wise to solder on live circuits as really bad things can happen).

* In the case of Weller, they produce everything from firesticks to dimmer controlled firesticks on the consumer side, to a number of different full blown temperature controlled soldering stations on the professional side. In the case of Hakko, even their most basic station, the FX-888D, is marketed as both a hobbyist and entry level professional station.
 

Offline Julez

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 20
  • Country: de
 

Offline Paul Price

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1419
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2016, 11:02:58 pm »
Why not build you own Hakko 888D 65-W station?

I salvaged almost all the parts to build this soldering station from a discarded  VCR and Cassette/CD/AM-FM Hi-Fi stack, so the cost to build this soldering station was limited to a few bucks for the soldering handle. It arrived in about a week.

With 6  assorted total Hakko tips, only USD $24 free shipping and I had a new Hackko Soldering Station built within 10-days from order.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xhakko+8801+handle.TRS0&_nkw=hakko+8801+handle&_sacat=0

BTW my Precision Hakko Controller circuit will work with many other Hakko handles, like the 9xx series, as well that use a PTR thermistor sensor.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 05:36:31 pm by Paul Price »
 

Online KL27x

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3626
  • Country: us
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2016, 11:25:43 pm »
A 24V power supply, a couple opamps, and a FET/SCR is not rocket science. I built my own LDC digital station front end and I used it for a year or two. It still works, perfectly. For the time spent, did I save any money? No. It's not worth it, except for the learning experience.

The other problem with this approach is a real FX888 soldering handpiece costs $70.00. It, and the iron holder, are where a lot of the Hakko quality resides. Not so much of interest going on in the station, other than the Hakko 888 station manages to be pretty darn small and bombproof.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 11:35:40 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline Paul Price

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1419
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2016, 11:34:13 pm »
My $24 Hackko soldering handle with ceramic heating element reaches 60/40 optimal soldering temperature from turn on within 17-Secs and it is able to deliver the power needed to remove parts near a ground plane on a 4-layer motherboard PCB's quickly within a few seconds,  thanks to the generous power capacity of the Hi-Fi power transformer and the excellent heat transfer of this quality 8801 handle.

The handle seems to be very well made with a burn-proof silicone cord, and although some of the tips were a bit loosely thermally coupled to the ceramic heating element because of free-play, a tiny strip of ~.1mm thick pure copper shimstock made them all  have a very snug fit.

That's Hackko quality!

My old 48W station took about 40-seconds to reach soldering temp and even with temp control maxed,  couldn't get a motherboard hot enough to remove/install components. Fine with me, the transformer had fried, so I used its cabinet and handle holder and connectors and power sw and cord and fuse as well as the temp setting pot and knob to pimp up my new Hackko.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 06:20:28 pm by Paul Price »
 

Online KL27x

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3626
  • Country: us
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2016, 11:37:51 pm »
Even a 65-70W Hakko 888 or an honest clone will reach solder melting temp in about 10-15 seconds. It's not the station. My Xtronic Hakko compatible does that just fine, too. I can't tell any difference between the performance of the PSU. It was the handpiece and iron older that I didn't care for.

The handpiece you linked looks the biz, at least. If the genuine tips will fit nicely, and you have a good holder, you might have as good as the real thing. Who knows? I haven't tried that particular knockoff handpiece. But for the time spent tearing apart your hi fi system and building your station, you could have probably been better off doing something else with your time, like w/e it is you do for work. DIY station is fine for a project in and of itself. An 888 that will last a lifetime without going tits up when dropped in the middle of a job is a steal at $100.00. I have more money that that in the tips.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 11:59:21 pm by KL27x »
 

Offline Paul Price

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1419
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2016, 12:17:38 am »
Why build my own?

I really dislike the design of the real-McCoy 888D:
 
I can't stand having no schematic to repair it.
I really dislike push-button controls to set temperature, give me a pot knob to so quickly twist any day!.
I really don't want any soldering station that could require a password.

And I don't like the price.

I really enjoy designing and building my own equipment.

I also really enjoy tearing-down old equipment for parts or just to see how they are made..somehow I find it quite relaxing and also a interesting and rewarding pastime.

I really like the idea that the handle is so low in price that I bought two of them so that I can just plug and play and have the best tip needed for a soldering task.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 12:48:14 am by Paul Price »
 

Online KL27x

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3626
  • Country: us
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #40 on: January 12, 2016, 12:36:49 am »
I've been tempted to buy one of those clone handles for tip changes, but then I have an entire wand/cord on my bench just for that. At that point, I might rather have two stations setup, permanently, or a dual output station. The upgrade to a cartridge based Hakko would be a lot of dough, considering the number of tips I use. So for now, I change hot tips with a small pair of pliers easy enough.

Another member screws the entire half of the wand in/out at the plastic ring and swaps for a second unit. This just doesn't feel right to me; it feels like this will eventually cause a breakage/failure. Plus it's twice as much screwing/unscrewing if you use more than two tips.

I agree on the digital vs knobs. If the analog 888 were still available, I'd probably buy another. This is one of the other reasons I don't use my fancy pants digital DIY station. Will use a knob, next time. :-+ I wanted to use an encoder to make a combined station and lab PSU, but I ran into some snags and that project is on the shelf.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 12:46:09 am by KL27x »
 

Offline Brumby

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 9395
  • Country: au
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #41 on: January 12, 2016, 01:12:22 am »
On the push button -vs- knobs debate, I also find the push button idea unpleasant.  My preference is for rotary knobs and a digital display.

As a fundamental issue on operational efficiency on ANY piece of equipment, the idea of multi-functional controls really annoys me.  I like the idea of looking at a piece of equipment and being able to see the control I want to adjust, rather than selecting alternate functions or, heaven forbid, scrolling through menu options.
 

Offline Paul Price

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1419
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #42 on: January 12, 2016, 02:00:02 am »
KL27x sez, "But for the time spent tearing apart your hi fi system and building your station, you could have probably been better off doing something else with your time, like w/e it is you do for work. DIY station is fine for a project.."

Is it only me or are there guys with names like Dave and Sagan that like to do this too!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 02:04:18 am by Paul Price »
 

Offline Brumby

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 9395
  • Country: au
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #43 on: January 12, 2016, 02:05:47 am »
Horses for courses...

Some people won't be satisfied until they work for Elon Musk - while others will be happy to launch a home made rocket that reaches 500 feet.

It'd be boring if we all wanted the same thing.
 

Offline Paul Price

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1419
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #44 on: January 12, 2016, 03:23:56 am »
And if anyone is on a really tight budget, there is always the USD $1.50 Hakko 50W handle to DIY soldering stations.
 

Offline wblock

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 239
  • Country: us
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #45 on: January 12, 2016, 05:11:52 am »
The strain relief in that picture...  :-DD
 

Online KL27x

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3626
  • Country: us
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #46 on: January 12, 2016, 06:31:55 am »
Quote
KL27x sez, "But for the time spent tearing apart your hi fi system and building your station, you could have probably been better off doing something else with your time, like w/e it is you do for work. DIY station is fine for a project.."
Sure, if I have nothing better to do. Here's a picture of mine. It is just a controller, LCD, and jack. It draws DC power from the DIY lab PSU above it and switches it with a FET. For a push button digital control, I think I did pretty good from a usability standpoint. On/off button. Up button. Down button. And large 10 degrees C steps per push for quick and meaningful adjustments, because setting your iron to each degree is wasting your freaking time. When would anyone purposefully set their iron to 309 degrees, lol!?  No save button. No pressing and holding to save. No pressing and holding or double-clicking or looking for blinking cursors or scrolling thru menus to do anything! You can adjust it without looking, because 1 click = 10 degrees, all the time, every time. Two amazingly useful modes. On and off. Settings are automatically saved to EEPROM every time you adjust it, so the last temp is always automatically restored on the next hard powerup, even in case of a power out. I wonder how long it would take before the EEPROM wore out, at a rated 1 million write endurance? (It would still work fine as long as you didn't unplug it or lose power. And I guess the buttons might wear out first!). It has a soft start, 50% duty cycle until the iron reaches a minimum temp, to prevent a cold start from tripping overcurrent protection on the 3A 20V power supply I was tapping.
 
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b103/klee27x/solderingstation007.jpg
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b103/klee27x/solderingstation008.jpg

If I had made it with a good quality Hakko tip-compatible iron, I might still be using it. But I wouldn't have thought to suggest it in this particular thread. If someone asks where to get the best BLT for X dollars, I wouldn't suggest they start raising a pig and growing some lettuce. :)

I still have it. And looking at this pic and remembering it makes me want to retrofit it for a Hakko handpiece. But even the time to change out the connector and readjust the data table and/or tweak the opamps is not worth my time compared to buying a new FX-888D. If that ever happens it will be because I had nothing better to do!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 08:09:02 am by KL27x »
 

Offline MrSlack

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 880
  • Country: gb
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #47 on: January 12, 2016, 07:17:59 am »
I've got AOYUE 2930 and some 937 hakko clone. And the clone was too bad because of the air gap. So I don't use it anymore.

 I would go for aoyue, but my station had some serious issues. First, "vibrosensor" didn't work and I don't know why. I had to disassemble the handpiece and to fix. And it seemed it was correctly assembled, the problem was somewhere in station's "brains". After some random wire shorting (emulating how the sensor works, it's just a ball touching contacts) it suddenly started to work. Quite bad sign...

nsive for wave soldering.
Thermal performance is okay, but I expected more.  Definitely better than my 937 clone, also heats up faster.
Exsctly the same trouble with my Aoyue 936. Fed up with the damn thing to be honest. Put the cash down for a Weller and am happy now.
 

Offline bxh

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 32
  • Country: gb
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #48 on: January 12, 2016, 08:19:36 am »
1. What Weller and Hakko stations/irons did you try (specific model numbers if possible*)?
2. How challenging of a joint were they (i.e. 1/2/4/6/8 layer boards, on a ground plane or not, ...).?
3. What brand and model of Chinese branded rework station + iron are you using?

For Hakko, just the FX-888D. The Weller models have all disappeared over the past couple of months, so I don't have the model number.

With that cheap station, only up to 4 layers. Most if not all of them have the ground planes/pours, but the pins connected to planes are usually connected via thermal reliefs. The worst board I've tried soldering had massive planes to dissipate the heat and pads that were not connected via thermal reliefs, and that was problematic as expected.

The brand of the station is Yihua, can't remember the model.
 

Offline Paul Price

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1419
Re: picking a soldering station
« Reply #49 on: January 12, 2016, 08:54:18 am »
At IBM their motto was K.I.S.S.  Keep It Simple, Stupid. Time is valuable, so is having a reliable and professional soldering station that I could easily construct myself quickly and cheaply.

I used the same soldering station pictured by JK27x for the basics. It provided the cabinet  and handle holder for the Hackko Station conversion.

Just one on/off Sw, One knob on one pot to set temperature, just one LED for power indication, one LED to show the handle has reached the proper temperature.

My station automatically remembers the last temperature because the knob on the pot is already set to the correct temperature. No ROM look-up tables.

My controller requires no tweaking of op-amps, build it on a simple breadboard or perfboard, and just about any op-amp will work(LM741,4558, LM308,etc.) just must be an op-amp with max power supply rails >= +-12V.

The old station also had a 5-pin connect that could be adapted to the Hakko 8801 handle by removing the center pin from the Hakko connector..

Time to construct..about an hour to fabricate on perfboard. No digital display, no complicated calibration, all I had to do is just twist the knob to find the right temperature and bingo, calibration complete!

And the bonus is that I can also just plug in a Weller WTPTC TCP-7 700 deg F magnetically tip temp set handle | have by modifying its connector, just shorting pins 5-6 (thermistor connections) on its connector. This gives me an additional handle and tip to do work with interchangeable tips that automatically regulate temperature with very good thermal sensing. It also gave me a very good soldering tool that was easy to solder with to make my own Hackko.

I wouldn't waste any time buying that $1.50 handle I posted when a very good quality 888D handle is  available at low cost.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 11:43:16 am by Paul Price »
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf